Sunday, March 26, 2017

Health Care Costs - Excerpt from Let's Make Our World Better by Warren William Luce

Used by Permission


The other major budget buster besides the military industrial complex and intelligence is health care costs. The Affordable Care Act was intended to provide health care to all citizens. Prior to its enactment, there were about forty million Americans without health insurance. At the end of the first year, less than seven million were signed up for insurance. That is far from achieving its purpose. There are both good and bad provisions to the act. The claim that it will lower health costs is very questionable. Premium increases are rising significantly and taxpayers are going to be billed for subsidies to those who can't afford insurance and tax credits to the middle class income earners and businesses.

It's not a good act, and rather than working together to fix the problems, congressional members played the blame game, trying to affix all the fault to the administration to gain political advantage. There was plenty of blame to go around including the insurance companies, but the primary criticism needed to be directed at Congress. There is that old adage, the administration proposes, and Congress disposes. Congress makes the laws; the administration enforces them. Costs will increase due to extensive free screening care costs billed by the insurance companies, subsidies to those who can't afford insurance and tax credits to the middle class income earners and businesses.
We're spending $3.3 trillion every year on health care or almost $10,000 peer capita. With average life expectancy at 78.3 years, we rank 36th in the world. Almost every country ranking higher spends half or less per capita that we do. Most have health care systems that are on par with ours. Japan, ranking first with a life expectancy four years greater than ours, spends about a third of what we do per capita.
Obviously, there is something drastically wrong with our health care system. If other countries can provide good health care at $4,000 per capita or less, so can we and should. We can save $1.45 trillion every year in health care costs when we correct the flaws in our system. The individual, businesses, the insurance companies, and the government (taxpayers) will all benefit.

So, why are our health care costs twice as high as they should be? The Institute of Medicine reports that the health-care systems wastes $750 billion every year with millions of unnecessary and expensive tests, inefficient delivery of care, excessive administrative costs, inflated prices, and fraud. The Arizona Daily Star reported that about one third of the health care that is provided is not needed and does nothing to benefit the health of the patient. That's almost a trillion dollars spent unnecessarily every year. Medicare and Medicaid constitute about 40% of the health care costs, which means that we could save the government (taxpayers) almost $400 billion every year.

The ACA does nothing to address that enormous waste but rather increases it. The Act requires that insurance plans cover preventive immunizations, and free other basic services. How naive can you get? There is no such thing as free medical care. You will pay as the insurance companies raise premiums. Medicare and Medicaid costs will go up as the taxpayers are billed by insurance companies for those "free services."

"Preventive healthcare services" as the way of screening for early detection are a major factor in the unnecessary care provided. They're incredibly expensive. About 13% of American women will get breast cancer. That means 87% will not, yet they will be tested for it. Of those, tests often produce false positive results, which require more expensive testing and sometimes invasive procedures.

Applying that concept to the many other diseases means that a vast majority of healthy Americans will be tested for diseases they don't have. We're talking about hundreds of millions of unnecessary tests. It doesn't take a math genius to understand the immense costs that will be incurred. The concept of screening, preventive healthcare services if badly flawed. It's especially egregious as we know how to actually prevent disease. Screening is okay where special circumstances exist such as a family history of a disease. Yes, preventive screening will save lives, but many, many more will be saved when we focus on keeping people from getting sick, which we know how to do but give it little attention...

There is one more factor that's perhaps the most important, and that is our attitude about our health, how we think about our health...Actually, the length of our lives is not too important. We're all going to die sooner or later. It's the quality of life that is important... And as a result you'll save yourselves and other taxpayers a hell of a lot of money helping to reduce our annual deficits by $350 million.
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A Personal Note: I have learned more from this one book, about all the issues that we are all facing...in the United States... and what I've shared is only about the first section--Politics!

I'll be writing an official review; however, since the author allowed it, I'm sharing enough about what's happening right now...e.g., about the Affordable Care Act, which has just failed, or passed for a while longer, depending upon how you look at it...

For me, I'll be stopping "early detection tests" unless I feel like there is a problem, for me, or get to a point that I am no longer able to make my own medical decisions ...Each of us has to deal with the bureaucratic mess we are in regarding health care... Please share this, if this is an issue of importance to you! Thank you!